CBD for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders

Growing research and evidence shows that there may be some potential between CBD & helping alleviate symptoms of Insomnia.


Among the other potential benefits associated with CBD, it may be able to help with insomnia and sleep disorders. More research is still required to confirm the connection, but early studies show a great deal of promise in this respect.

CBD May Directly Affect the Sleep Cycle

Multiple studies indicate CBD may have a direct impact on the sleep cycle, which could lead to potential applications for treating sleep disorders and insomnia. A 2014 study examined the impact of CBD on the sleep cycles of those with Parkinson’s disease. That study found that CBD reduced the symptoms associated with RBD (REM sleep behavior disorder). This disorder involves patients acting out dreams and is usually connected with nightmares and poor sleep. The caveat is that the study only included four participants.

A few years later, a review in 2017 looked at past research into CBD, cannabinoids, and sleep. The review found mixed results and called for future longitudinal and controlled research. It also noted that some early research seems to indicate that CBD could help with insomnia, while THC could make it easier to fall asleep but hurt the overall quality of sleep. The review also pointed out studies that show CBD is promising for treating excessive sleepiness during the day and RBD.

A study on rats in 2006 also showed that giving the subjects CBD would affect the systems in the body responsible for waking.

CBD May Encourage Wakefulness?

There is also some research into CBD that indicates it may help people feel more awake and alert. This could be particularly useful in treating the daytime effects of those with sleep disorders. This conclusion was based on a review of past research that included studies on both people and animals. Notably, the authors of the review did not make any conclusions about how CBD encourages that wakefulness.

CBD May help with Anxiety, a Common Insomnia Cause?

Much of the research involving CBD’s ability to treat sleep disorders like insomnia focuses on insomnia due to anxiety. A 2019 study from Shannon et. al. examined the ability of CBD to reduce anxiety and/or improve sleep. This study included 72 subjects, including 25 with poor sleep and 47 with anxiety. After receiving 25 milligrams of CBD daily, 66.7% reported improved sleep and 79.2% reported reduced anxiety within a month.

Can CBD help with Pain, a Common Insomnia Cause?

Other research focused on the ability of CBD to reduce pain and therefore eliminate insomnia. A 2018 review examined previous research and found significant support for the idea that cannabinoids like CBD can manage pain. The past research reviewed in this study did not explicitly include the treatment of insomnia and other sleep problems, but the authors of the study mention its potential benefits in this respect.

What This Use of CBD Means for Athletes

It is a common consensus among doctors and trainers that athletes need to get enough sleep to perform at peak functionality. David Geier, MD, who is a sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon told WebMD that athletic performance requires enough sleep. More sleep is necessary during peak training times since this provides your body the chance to recover. Registered dietician and exercise physiologist Felicia Stoler, RD, agreed in the same article, confirming that sleep gives the body time to repair itself.

Research Supports the Connection Between Quality Sleep and Athletic Performance

There is also concrete evidence that increasing sleep can improve athletic performance. A 2001 study looked at Stanford University's basketball team for several months. Adding an average of nearly two hours of sleep each night increased the accuracy of free throws by 9 percent and speed by 5 percent. The study also confirmed that the increased sleep improved the reflexes and overall happiness of the athletes.

A 2017 review by Watson also confirmed the importance of sleep for athletes. It outlines multiple studies that show that improving sleep quality and duration improves performance and the overall competitive success of athletes. This review went a step further to outline some of the challenges that stop athletes from getting sufficient sleep and suggesting some methods of improving sleep.


Early research into the impact of CBD on those suffering from sleep disorders and insomnia indicates that the cannabinoid may have the potential to reduce those problems. This is particularly important for athletes, given that an increase in sleep quality and quantity has been shown to improve athletic performance.